Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Fun, the left & The Secret History of Rum

So there we were, the world going to hell in a handbasket, with a regime dominated not just by conservatives, but stupid conservatives embroiling us in a war in Iraq that is unwinnable because their own ignorance and lack of contact with reality made it inevitably so. And I publish a book on rum.

It probably confirms the worst fears of the dour Leninoids who think that Slobodan Milosevic, Kim Jong Il, Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein are the last of the great socialists and regard people like me as class traitors for thinking that human rights have anything to do with progress.

In some small defense, I did take time out last year to explore George W. Bush’s military career. It could have been a very short book, but Deserter, George Bush’s War on Military Families, Veterans and his Own Past, went beyond his all too short military record into how that ignominious episode was obscured and inflated until far too many Americans think that the drunken wimp is a bemedalled war hero.

It also touches on Bush’s substance abuse problems, although I have no direct evidence to suggest that rum was ever snorted by the guy. In any case, it is clear that he neither drank nor abstained in moderation.

Incidentally, Castro himself has inveighed against the perils of rum drinking in Cuba of all places, so maybe he and W should start a joint world-wide temperance movement.

So back to rum. It reveals a lot about the history of the modern world, how this country was established and the global economy became global.

And more to the point, it is fun stuff to drink. In the strange cultural wars of modern America, the right rallies social conservatives against the hedonistic hippy liberals who it confuses with the far left. Why can’t we rally the six-pack brigade against the dry evangelists and the guy in the White House who goes white-knuckled at the sight of a Bud Lite? It’s a massive constituency.

So as a snifter, here is my latest piece from the Nation site. You will note my ambivalence. Havana Club is better rum than Bacardi – but Fidel doesn’t drink!

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